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  • Matt Porretta

How do I remove tree roots from my sewer line?

Updated: Jun 3, 2021

If you are like millions of homeowners on planet earth, you or someone you know has likely had a clogged sewer line resulting in a sewer backup. The root cause of a majority of sewer backups is ... you guessed it. Roots. See what I did there?






Roots grow deeper and are constantly searching for good sources of water and nutrients. Your sewer line happens to have plenty of both. Unless you have a newer gasketed PVC sewer line, or you had an epoxy resin liner installed in your sewer line, you may be at risk for root intrusion. Once roots penetrate your pipe, they will continue to grow and fill and eventually block the sewer line. So what can you do about it?


A.) You could cut the tree down. This would obviously slow root growth down tremendously. There are some problems with this approach though. One issue is that you may not be able to cut the tree down. Many times the trees growing into your sewer line are near the street and are actually owned by the town or city. Or the tree is on your neighbors property, or on the other side of the street. Also, cutting down the tree does not immediately stop tree roots from growing. I have seen trees there were cut down and had their stump ground down, grow into a sewer line up to 10 years later!


B.) You could pour root killer down your drains. Does this actually work? I literally have no idea. It seems like a fable, because I have been on hundreds of service call visits where customers say they have been using tree root killer. This approach seems more like a waste of money than anything.


C.) You could pay an excavator/plumber to dig down and replace the sewer line. This is a great and (sometimes) cost effective way to obtain a new sewer line. The problems lie in the fact that most sewer mains are located in the middle of your street. If you truly want a new sewer line that's "new" all the way to the middle of the street, you have to dig in the street. Sometimes cities and villages have a cleanout or right of way, depending on where you live. My point is, unless you are going new all the way from the basement, to the sewer main, you are leaving an old section of compromised sewer.


D.) We save the best for last. You could have a plumber install a sewer liner to repair your sewer line. This process is basically installing a new pipe inside your old existing sewer line. After it is cleaned and flushed of tree roots and debris, the liner is installed from your basement, all the way out to the middle of the street. There is no digging necessary, and this method completely seals out tree roots. Another benefit of this method is the time it takes to install a sewer liner. With our new Blue Light curing system from Hammerhead Trenchless, We are able to clean and cure most sewer lines in under 4 hours. There is minimal downtime and can be done before you are even home from work for the day.




So there you have it. Oh, one other thing you could do is pay to snake your sewer line every year. Just hope and pray it doesn't back up and spill sewer all over your basement. Hopefully you catch the sewer backup in time. Or you could just be done with it and never experience a sewer backup again. Underground Pipe Co. is ready and prepared to give you 50 years of worry free flushing.


Happy Flushing,

Matt Porretta

Underground Pipe Co.

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